NEW DELHI : Diplomatic tensions between India and Canada mounted after New Delhi released a scathing travel advisory counselling its citizens to exercise caution while travelling to Canada.
“In view of growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in Canada, all Indian nationals there and those contemplating travel are urged to exercise utmost caution. Recently, threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda. Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents,” the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.
“Threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda,” the statement said.
The move comes just days after Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the country’s parliament that there were “credible allegations’’ linking India’s government to the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a prominent pro-Khalistan leader in Canada, in June this year. Trudeau’s speech caused immediate controversy as India denied the charges as “baseless” and “motivated”.
Major world powers also weighed in on the controversy. “All countries should respect sovereignty and the rule of law. We are in regular contact with our Canadian partners about serious allegations raised in the Canadian Parliament,” said British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong struck a similar tone and pointed out that an investigation was ongoing.
US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti called for close partners to cooperate in the investigation and called for those responsible to be held accountable. Garcetti also said that it was too early for America to consider playing a role in calming tensions between the two countries.
Prime Minister Trudeau also seemed to dial down his statements.
“The government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness. We are doing that; we are not looking to provoke or escalate,” he said, speaking to reporters.
Harjit Sajjan, a Sikh member of parliament who is also a senior leader in Trudeau’s Liberal Party, also shed some light on why the Canadian Prime Minister decided to go public with his allegations.
“And, again, we would prefer not to have to come out, but because if there were stories that were going to be coming out, it’s important for the prime minister to make it very clear what is taking place based on, you know, the amount of information that could be provided,” Sajjan said to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“Making sure to give calm to Canadians is an absolute priority for us. And this is one of the reasons why the prime minister went out, is to give confidence and calm to Canadians — and just in case somebody is trying to use certain information to divide Canadians, which we have seen many times in the past,” he went on to say.
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Updated: 21 Sep 2023, 12:10 AM IST